Answers to Common Veterinary Dermatology Questions

As a traveling veterinary dermatologist, we bring specialty skin, ear, and allergy care to your preferred clinic or home for comfort and convenience. We understand that you want answers to your questions and relief for your pet, and we’re here to help. Below are answers to some of the most common questions we receive.

Q: I’m interested in making an initial appointment with Dr. Haarstad. What’s the scheduling process?

A: When scheduling your first appointment, we will first ask for a brief description of the case to confirm it’s a dermatology issue. We will then ask what vet clinic you usually visit, or where your referring veterinarian practices. If Dr. Haarstad has been there before, we proceed with scheduling your appointment during the available times that clinic has provided us (window varies by location; final time subject to hosting clinic’s approval).

If this would be our first time at this location, we will discuss your options. We can contact the clinic to see if we are able to see your pet there, and if we can, we will proceed with scheduling. Should you wish to be seen sooner or have a special case (e.g. behavioral), we can arrange a house visit. If you are traveling from your home outside the Twin Cities area, we can also arrange an appointment at a clinic near our office in Maple Grove.

Q: How should we prepare for the consultation and exam?

A: Please fill out our patient medical history form for Dr. Haarstad to review before your visit. To help ensure an accurate and effective exam, all topical medications (i.e. shampoos, conditioners, sprays, ear flushes, and ointments) should be discontinued 24 hours prior to your appointment. However, please continue administering any systemic medications (i.e. antibiotics, heart, blood pressure, and respiratory meds, etc.) your veterinarian has prescribed.

Q: What should we bring to the appointment?

A: Please bring any topical and/or oral medications you’re currently giving your pet, as well as diet information (i.e. brand and type of food/treats). Photos of product packaging/labels will work as well. This is particularly important if allergies are a concern.

Q: What can we expect during our first visit, and how long will it take?

A: Your first visit will be a consultation and exam to determine the best course of action. Dr. Haarstad will review your pet’s medical record beforehand and prepare any questions about his/her history. During the appointment, she will fully examine your pet, discuss recommendations for treatments and/or additional tests based on her findings, and thoroughly answer any questions you have. From there, she will work with you and your regular veterinarian to create a personalized care plan that works best for you and your pet.

While it may take less time, please allow for at least two hours so that Dr. Haarstad can thoroughly examine your pet, answer all your questions, and explain all her findings and recommendations.

Q: Will there be allergy testing during the first visit?

A: Allergy tests are not guaranteed during the first visit due to time, prep, and the safety of the animal. Dr. Haarstad always does a full exam and consultation for the first appointment, with a thorough discussion of recommendations and time to answer any questions for the owner. If allergy testing is to be done and time allows, it can be done at that time. Otherwise, scheduling and preparation (depending on the pet’s medical history – see below) will be discussed and planned between the pet parent and Dr. Haarstad.

Q: How do we prepare for allergy testing?

A: Intradermal (skin) allergy testing is done with the animal under a mild sedative, so please do not feed your pet for at least eight hours prior to the appointment (he/she CAN have access to water). Withdrawal times will vary by drug type, so please discontinue the following at the given time leading up to your visit:

  • Injectable long-acting steroids: six weeks prior
  • Oral steroids: two weeks prior
  • Antihistamines: one week prior
  • Apoquel: 24 hours prior
  • Topical medications (i.e. shampoos, conditioners, sprays, ear flushes, ointments): 24 hours prior
Please continue administering any systemic medications (i.e. heart, blood pressure, and respiratory meds, antibiotics, etc.) your veterinarian has prescribed. Atopica (modified cyclosporine) can also continue.

Q: Do you see pets other than cats and dogs?

A: Yes. Dr. Haarstad treats many furry, feathery, and scaly animals alike. She has seen horses and a wide range of exotic pets, including snakes, rabbits, and more. Contact us for more information on setting up a visit with your pet.

Q: I’m a veterinarian with a mobile practice or limited space at my clinic. Can I still refer to you?

A: Yes. If you’re concerned about hosting specialist appointments at your clinic for any reason, we offer a house call option to help meet the needs of all pet owners. Refer a patient online and learn more about our traveling veterinary dermatology referral service.

Q: Are all services available on house calls?

A: The majority of our veterinary dermatology services are available during house calls, but not all due to resources (e.g. veterinary technicians, etc.) and safety concerns for the pet if sedation is required. Any exclusions will be based upon the specific case, animal, and their medical history. Please contact us for details.

Q: Do you provide telemedicine services?

A: Yes. We are happy to offer telemedicine and virtual visit options, although there are limitations associated with not seeing your pet in person. Contact us to learn more about this service.

Dr. Haarstad is here to help. She will provide thorough explanations and answers to all your questions during your visit. Request an appointment online or contact us today for more information.